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fiL '^^S'^- a. 

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n I -/;?., 

Copyright, 1908 
By Bacon and Brown 

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THE Limerick shares the fate of Homer, and we 
search in vain for a certified pedigree. In 
Ireland many years ago it was the custom at 
drinking parties to engage in convivial verse-con- 
tests. A singer would improvise a line, followed 
in chorus by the refrain : 

Will you come up, come up? 
Will you come up to Limerick ? 

A rival singer, then taking the lead, would add 
a line to cap or match the first, its last word 
rhyming with the end of the former line. The 
success of a brilliant sally of wit was instanta- 
neous, and such success is sweet. The song went 
merrily and the cup passed cheerily. 

This, they would have us understand, was the 
ancient origin of the Limerick. And, as it was 
not bred in a cloister, we may well believe the 
solemn assertion that it ''is a far from blameless 
production.'' But as slang works upward into good 

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etymological society, so the Limerick has, by leaning 
upon the arm of Lear and Miss Wells, ascended to 
an enviable position, and is welcomed wherever 
good verse is appreciated. We here present it and 
stand aside that it may make its best bow. 

The first representative Limerick, according to 
Mr. Stanton Vaughn, was that beginning ''There 
was a young man of St. Kitts,'' written about 
1834. Lear is said to have derived his inspira- 
tion in 1846 from that gem of Mother Goose, 
"There was an old man of Tobago," — a favorite 
also of old Lady Tippins and the redoubtable Eugene. 
Since Lear's day the trend has been away from 
nonsense, and of those who would substitute wit a 
few have met with conspicuous success. To these 
gifted writers, Edward Lear, Cosmo Monkhouse, 
Carolyn Wells, Oliver Herford, Gelett Burgess, 
and others whose names we have diligently striven 
to discover, we are indebted and grateful. Limericks 
do ** achieve an enormous circulation — verbally," 
and for this reason it has been difficult to trace 
authorship and accurate text. To forgiving authors 
and an indulgent public we commit the result of 
our labors. 

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There was a young lady of Niger, 
Who smiled as she rode on a tiger; 

They returned from the ride 

With the lady inside, 
And the smile on the face of the tigen 

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There was a young man of St» Kitts, 
Who was very much troubled with fits ; 
The eclipse of the moon 
Threw him into a swoon j 
When he tumbled and broke into bits» 

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There was an old man of Tobago, 
Who lived on rice, gruel, and sago ; 
Till much to his bliss 
His physician said this — 
** To a leg, sir, of mutton you may go/' 

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There was a young fellow named Paul, 
Who went to a fancy dress ball ; 
They say, just for fun 
He dressed up like a bun, 
And was ^^ et '^ by a dog in the hall^ 

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There once was a Polo called ** Marc,** 
Who sailed up to Peru in the dark ; 

It caused him to shudder 

And cling to the rudder 
When he heard the ^* Peruvian bark/* 

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There once was a lady from Guam^ 

Who said, ** Now the sea is so calm 

I will swim, for a lark; '^ 

But she met with a shark* 

Let us now sing the ninetieth psalm« 

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Fd rather have fingers than toes, 
Fd rather have ears than a nose, 
And as for my hair, 
Fm glad it^s all there, 
FlI be awfully sad when it goes. 

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A lovdom young student most frantic 
Screamed out in his best Esperantic^ 

^^ Caj woh el j maj f u j 

Y con sluj mi vol tuj V* 
Now isn^t that simply romantic ? 

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There was an old man who said, ^^How 
Shall I flee from this horrible cow ? 

I will sit on this stile 

And continue to smile, 
Which may soften the heart of that cow/' 

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There was an old man who said, ^^ Do 
Tell me how Fm to add two and two? 

Fm not very sure 

That it doesnH make four — 
But I fear that is almost too few/' 

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There was a young woman named Sue, 
Who wanted to catch the 2*02; 

Said the trainman, ^' Don^t hurry 

Or flurry or worry ; 
It's a minute or two to 2*02/' 

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There was a young fellow named Tait, 
Who dined with his girl at 8.08 j 
But Fd hate to relate 
What that fellow named Tait 
And his tete4-t€te ate at 8.08 ! 

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There was a young fellow named Hall, 
Who fell in the spring in the fall ; 

HTwouId have been a sad thing 

If heM died in the spring, 
But he didn% — he died in the fall* 

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There was a young lady of Truro, 
Who wished a mahogany bureau. 
But they said to her, '' God 
On the length of Cape OA 
CouIdn^t raise a mahogany bureau P^ 

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A fellow named Teddy Mageet 

Rolling homeward one night from a spree. 
Met the parson, who said, 
^^Ahl drunk again, Ted r^ 

^^ Sho^m I, parson,^' gurgled Magee« 

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There was a young man from the city. 
Who met what he thought was a kitty; 

He gave it a pat. 

And said, '' Nice little cat 1 '' 
And they buried his clothes out of pity« 

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There was an old maiden from Fife, 
Who had never been kissed in her life ; 

Along came a cat ; 

And she said/^ ra kiss that P^ 
But the cat answered, '^ Not on your life 1 '^ 

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There was a young lady of Crete, 
Who was so exceedingly neat. 
When she got out of bed 
She stood on her head. 
To make sure of not soiling her feet« 

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There was an old maid of Shat^hai, 
Who was so exceedingly shy. 
When undressing at night, 
She turned out the light. 
For fear of the All Seeing Eye* 

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There once was a Master of Arts, 
Who was nuts upon cranberry tarts; 

When he'd eaten his fill, 

He was awfully ill ; 
But he still was a Master of Arts* 

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A GDlonel, who used to assert 
That naught his c%estion could hurt. 
Was forced to admit 
That his weak point was hit 
When they gave him hot shot for dessert* 

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I wish that my room had a floor; 

I don^t so much care for a door; 
But this crawling around 
Without touching the ground 

Is getting to be quite a bore* 

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There was an old man of Tarenttim, 
Who chewed on his teeth till he bent 'em, 

When he saw they were bent 

Said, '* I donH care a cent. 
You know I donH own 'em, I rent 'em/' 

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There was a young man from Ostend, 
Who vowed heM hold out to the end; 

But when half way over 

From Calais to Dover, 
He did what he didn't intend. 

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There was a young girl named O'Neill, 
Who went up in the great Ferris Wheel; 

But when half way around 

She looked at the ground, 
And it cost her an eighty-cent meal* 

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A sleeper from the Amazon 
Put nighties of his gra'mazon — 

The reason, that 

He was too fat 
To get his own pajamazon* 

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There was a man in Henderson, 
Who had a tall and slenderson, 

A human rail. 

Who used a nail. 
To fasten his suspenderson* 

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There was a man in Atchison, 
Whose trousers had rough patchison ; 

He found them great. 

He'd often state. 
To scratch his parlor matchison. 

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A silly young Mow named Hyde, 
In a funeral procession was spied ; 

When asked, '' Who is dead?'' 

He giggled and said, 
** I don't know ; I just came for the ride/' 

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There was an old man in a hearse^ 
Who murmured, *^ This might have been 

Of course the expense 

Is simply immense, 
But it doesn^t come out of my purse/^ 

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There was a young man of Fort Blainey^ 
Who proposed to a typist named Janey : 
When his friends said, '* Oh, dear I 
She's so old and so queer I '' 
He repKed, '* But the day was so rainy I '' 

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There was a young man from the West, 
Who loved a young lady with zest ; 
So hard did he press her 
To make her say, ^* Yes, sir,^^ 
That he broke three cigars in his vest* 

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There was a young sailor of Lyd, 
Who loved a fair Japanese kid ; 
When it came to good-bye, 
They were eager but shy, 
So they put up a sunshade and — did* 

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There once was a maiden of Siam, 
Who said to her lover, young Kiam, 

''H you kiss me, of course 

You will have to use force. 
But God knows you^re stronger than I am/' 

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There once was an old man of Lyme^ 
Who married three wives at a time : 
When asked, ''Why a third?'' 
He replied, '' One's absurd I 
And bigamy, sir, is a crime/' 

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There once was an old kangaroo, 
Who painted his children sky-blue ; 
When his wife said, ** My dear, 
Don^t you think they look queer ? '^ 
He replied, **1 don't know but they do/' 

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There once was i maid of Japan, ^ 
Who married a Hottentot man; 
The maid she was yeflow. 
Black as coal was the fellow. 
And their children were all black and tan* 

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There was a young man of Dunbar, 
Who playfully poisoned his Ma ; 
When he'd finished his work, 
He remarked with a smirk, 
** This will cause quite a family jar/' 

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There was an old lady of Brookings 
Who had a great genius for cooking ; 

She could bake sixty pies 

All of quite the same size. 
And tell which was which without looking. 

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A joiner of intellect crude 

Saidt '*Why not use sawdust for food? 

It's cheap by the ton, 

And it nourishes one, 
And that's the chief object of food/' 

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There once was a girl of New York^ 
Whose body was lighter than cork; 
She had to be fed 
For six weeks upon lead^ 
Before she went out for a walk. 

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For beauty I am not a star^ 

There are others more handsome by far; 

But my face ; — I don^t mind it, 

For I am behind it ; 
It's the people in front that I jar* 

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A father once said to his son^ 
** The next time you make up a pun^ 
Go out in the yard 
And kick yourself hard. 
And I will begin when youVe done/^ 

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There was an old woman of Tweedle, 
Who sat down in church on a needle ; 

Though deeply imbedded, 

'Twas luckily threaded. 
And extracted at once by the beadle. 

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There was a fat canon of Durham^ 
Who trod on a cloister-bred wurrum ; 

Said he to the beadle^ 

** Prepare the cathedr'I^ 
And let us proceed to inter 'm/' 

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There was a young lady whose dream 
Was to feed a black cat on whipped cream; 
But the first cat she found 
Spilled the cream on the ground. 
And she fed a whipped cat on black cream* 

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There was an old fellow named Green^ 
Who grew so abnormally lean. 
And flat, and compressed. 
That his back touched his chest, 
And sideways he couldn't be seen* 

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There was a young lady of Lynn, 
Who was so excessively thin, 

That when she essayed 

To drink lemonade 
She slipped through the straw and fell in* 

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There was an old man from Antigua^ 
Whose wife said, ** My dear, what a pig you 

He replied, ** O my queen, 

Is it manners you mean. 
Or do you refer to my f ig-u-a ? '' 

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There was a young lady named Perkins, 
Who had a great fondness for gherkins ; 

She went to a tea 

And ate twenty-three. 
Which pickled her internal workings* 

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There was a young lady named Maud, 
A very deceptive young fraud ; 

She never was able 

To eat at the table, 
But out in the pantry, — O Lord 1 

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There was a young maid who said, '* Why 
Gin^t I look in my ear with my eye ? 

If I put my mind to it 

Fm sure I can do it : 
You never can tell till you try/^ 

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Erat Romanorum dictator 
Qui hated his uxoris mater ; 

Cum leo her edit, 

A holier he dedit, 
Et dixit, '' Vale, ma, until later/' 

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There was a young lady from Boston, 
A two-homed dilemma was tossed on. 

As to which was the best, 

To be rich in the West 
Or poor and pectdiar in Boston* 

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There once was a lonesome, lorn spinster, 
And luck had for years been against her; 
When a man came to burgle 
She shrieked, with a gurgle, 
'' Stop thief, while I call in a minister 1 '' 

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There was an old maid named McDowd^ 
Who got squeezed in a terrible crowd ; 
The thing that most vexed her 
Was that there stood next her 
A man who said '* Damn ^^ right out load* 

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A mathematical maiden named Chaucer 
Cried ^^OfieP' and ^Tor shame r^ and ^'O 
law, Sir r^ 

'* Dividers have limbs 

Like indelicate hims, 
So circles I draw with a saucer/^ 

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There was a young lady named Hannah^ 
Who slipped on a peel of banana* 

More stars she espied 

As she lay on her side 
Than are found in the Star Spangled Banner. 

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A gentleman sprang to assist her ; 

He picked up her glove and her wrister ; 

** Did you faU, Ma'am ? ** he cried; 

" Do you think/' she replied, 
" I sat down for the fun of it, Mister ? " 

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There once was a doughty young fly, 
Who said, ''I will do it or die; '' 

So she took off her stocking, 

A spectacle shocking. 
And waded right into a pie* 

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There was a young woman from Wilts 
Who went up to Scotland on stilts^ 

When they said, ^*Oh, how shocking 
To show so much stocking I ^^ 
She answered, ** Well, how about kilts ? '^ 

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There was a young lady of Lynn, 
Who believed in original sin» 
She'd try to be good 
As hard as she could, — 
And then she'd go at it ag'in. 

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Augustus Fitzgibbons Moran 
Fdl in love with Maria McCann* 
With a ycU and a whoop 
He cleared the front stoop 
Just ahead of her papa's brogan* 

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Said a bad little youngster named Beauchamp, 
** Those jelly tarts, how shall I reauchamp? 

To my parents Yd go. 

But they always say no, 
No matter how much I beseauchamp/' 

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A bright little maid in St Thomas 
Discovered a suit of pajhomas* 

Said the maiden, '' Well, well I 

What they are I can't tell, 
But Fm sure that these garments St 

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An amorous M« A« 
Says that cupid, the C D«, 
Doesn^t cast for his health 
But is rolling in wealth — 
He's the John Jaco-B* R 

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A sore-hipped hippopotamus^ much flustered, 
Objected to a poultice made of custard* 

Said he, **This cussed flip 

Seems to irritate my hip/' 
So they put upon his hip a pot o' mustard* 

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The Sultan got sore on his harem 
And invented a scheme for to scare 'em; 
He caught him a mouse 
Which he loosed in the house; 
(The confusion is called harem-scarem)* 

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A tutor who tooted the flute, 

Tried to teach two young tooters to toot ; 

Said the two to the tutor, 

^* Is it harder to toot or 
To tutor two tooters to toot ? '' 

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A canncr, exceedingly canny, 

One morning remarked to his granny, 

** A canner can can 

Anything that he can. 
But a canner can't can a can, can he ? '^ 

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Said a miser who sordidly mised, 
** My gold I have always despised ; 
I have stinged till Fm stingy, 
And dinged till Fm dingy, 
But it's reafly the practice IVe prized/' 

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A flea and a fly in a flue 

Were imprisoned, so what could they do ? 
Said the fly/' Let us flee/' 
Said the flea, '' Let us fly/' 

So they flew through a flaw in the flue* 

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A certain young fellow named Beebee 
Wished to wed with a lady named Phoebe* 

'' But/' said he, '' I must see 

What the clerical fee 
Be before Phoebe be Phoebe Beebee/' 

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There was a great swell in Japan, 

Whose name on a Tuesday began ; 

It lasted through Sunday 

Till twilight on Monday, 

And sounded like stones in a can« 

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My grandma^ Rose Angela Hemans^ 
Is disposed to delirium tremens* 

She contracted the habit 

Of eating Welsh Rarebit 
At midnight^ and then sheM see demons* 

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There was a young person named Ned, i 

Who dined, before going to bed, '■ 

On lobster and ham 

And salad and jam. 
And when he awoke he was dead* 

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There once were some learned M»D7s, 
Who captured some germs of disease^ 

And infected a train 

Which, without causing pain, 
Aflowed one to catch it with ease* 

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There once was a pious young priest, 
Who lived almost wholly on yeast ; 


We must all rise again, 
And I want to get started, at least/^ 

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There was A young lady named Ruth, 
Who had a great passion for truth* 

She said she would die 

Before she would lie, 
And she died in the prime of her youth* 

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There was an old man in a tree, 
Who was horribly bored by a bee; 
When they said, ''Does it huzzV 
He replied, '' Yes, it does. 
It's a regular brute of a bee/' 

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There was an old man of St. Bees^ 
Who was stung in the arm by a wasp; 

When they asked, ''Does it hurt ?'' 

He replied, '' No, it doesn't, 
But I thought all the time 'twas a hornet I '' 

( W. S. Gilbert's parody oj No. LXXIX.) 

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There was a young man from G)rneII, 
Who said, **Fm aware of a smell, 

But whether it's drains 

Or human remains 
Fm reafly unable to tell/' 

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A man to whom illness was chronic^ 
When told that he needed a tonic. 

Said, **0 Doctor dear, 

Won't you please make it beer ? ** 
" No, no/' said the Doc., ** that's Teutonic." 

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To his wife said a person named Brown^ 
** My dear, there's a caller from town/' 

** Wait/' she cried in distress, 

^'TiU I slip on a dress/' 
But she slipped on the stairs and came down* 

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There was an old man of Kamschatkat 
Who possessed a remarkably fat cur; 

His gait and his waddle 

Were held as a model 
To all the fat dogs in Kamschatka. 

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'* Casscz-vous, casscz-vous, cassez-vous, 
O mcr, sur vos froids gris cailloux.^' 

Ainsi traduisit Laure 

Au profit dlsadorc, 
(Bon jcunc homme, et son futur ^poux). 

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Un marin naufrag^ (dc Doncastrc) 
Pour pricrc, au milieu du d^sastrc, 

Rep^tait a genoux 

Ces mots simples et doux : — 
** Sctntillez, scintillez, petit astre I '' 

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A young person of Tomahawk Bluff 
Gtrried pistols to make him look tough. 

When they asked^ *'Do you chew ?'' 

He replied, ^* Yes, I do, 
Fm a wegular wetch of a wough/' 

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There was a young lady of Skye, 
With a shape like a capital I ; 

She said/' It's too bad I 

But then, I can pad/* 
Which shows you that figures can lie* 

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There was a young lady from Joppa, 
Whose friends all decided to drop her. 
She went to Ostend 
On a trip with a friend — 
And the rest of the stor/s improper. 

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There was a young woman named Florence, 
Who for kissing professed great abhorrence; 
But when she^d been kissed 
And found what she'd missed. 
She cried till the tears came in torrents* - 

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There was a young lady named Nell, 
Who considered herself quite a belle ; 
She sat on the sand 
And held her own hand, 
And never discovered the sell. 

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There was a young person called Kate, 
Who sat on the stairs very late. 

When asked how she fared, 

She said she was scared, 
But was otherwise doing first-rate. 

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There was an old man with a beards 
Who said, ** It is just as I feared I — 

Two owls and a hen, 

Four larks and a wren, 
Have all built their nests in my beard/' 

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Said a great congregational preacher 
To a hen, *' You're a beautiful creature/' 

And the hen, just for that. 

Laid an egg in his hat, 
And thus did the Hen reward Beechen 

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There was a young curate of Worcester, 
Who could have a command if heM choose ter, 

But he said each recruit 

Must be blacker than soot, 
Or else heM go preach where he used ten 

( Written, of Thomas Wentwortk Higginson.) 

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A genius who once did aspire 
To invent an aerial flyer, 

When asked, '' Does it go ?'' 

Replied, ^^ I don^t know; 
Fm awaiting some damphule to try ^er/^ 

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There once was a man from Nantucket, 
Who kept all his cash in a bucket, 

But his daughter named Nan 

Ran away with a man, 
And alas for the bucket, Nan-tuck-et I 

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But he followed the pair to Pawtucfcet, 
The n^n and the girl with the bucket. 
And he said to the man, 
He was welcome to Nan; 
And as for the bucket, Paw-tuck-et I 

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Said the old man of Abinger-Hammer^ 
Who was blessed with a wife and a stammer^ 

^^ The plague of my life 

Is my w-w-w-wife, 
D-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-dammer I '' 

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xax , 

There was a young lady of Cork, 
Whose Pa made a fortune in pork ; 
He bought for his daughter 
A tutor who taught her 
.To balance green peas on her fork. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

There was a young man so benighted. 
He never knew when he was slighted ; 

He would go to a party, 

And eat just as hearty, 
As if heM been really invited* 

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There was a young person called Smarty, 
Who sent out his cards for a party ; 
So exclusive and few 
Were the friends that he knew' 
That no one was present but Smarty* 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


There were three young women of Birming- 
And I know a sad story concerning ^em; 

They stuck needles and pins 

In the Right Reverend shins 
Of the Bishop engaged in confirming ^em« 

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There was a young man from Quebec^ 
Who was buried in snow to his neck ; 

When asked, '' Are you friz ? '' 

He replied/' Yes, lis — 
But this is not cold for Quebec^^ 

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There was an old man of Madrid, 
Who was hit with a brick by a kid; 
Said the man, ^^ Oh, what joy- 
To wallup that boy I 
Be darned if I don't ; '' and he did 

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There was a young lady named Tucker, 
Who rushed at her mother and struck her ; 
Her mother said, ^^Danm, 
Don^t you know who I am ? 
You act like a regular mucker/^ 

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A scrupulous priest of Kildare^ 
Used to pay a rude peasant to swear^ 

Who would paint the air blue, 

For an hour or two, 
While his reverence wrestled in prayen 

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There once was a sculptor named Phidias, 
Whose statues by some were thought hideous : 

He made Aphrodite, 

Without any nightie. 
Which shocked all the ultra fastidious* 

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There was a young lady named Enos, 
Who went to a ball dressed as Venus^ 

The guests said, ^^It^s rude, 

To come in the nude ^^ — 
And they brought her a leaf from the 

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There was a young lady named Banker, 
Who slept while the ship lay at anchor ; 
She awoke in dismay 
When she heard the mate say : 
^^ Now hoist up the top sheet, and spanker/' 

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There once was a lady so fair 
That no one could see she was there : 

It may not seem decent 

To be so translucent, 
But we pardon all things to the fair* 

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Said the Reverend Jabcz McCotten, 
*' The waltz of the deviPs begotten/' 
Said young Jones to Miss Sly 
^' Never mind that old guy : 
To the pure almost everything's rotten/' 

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II 7 avait une demoiselle de Nigre, 
Qui souriait en se promenant k tigre ; 
De la course en rentrant 
VoiDt la dame en dedans^ 
Et le sourire ^ la gueule du tigre* 

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Gelett burgess* VII, XXII 

Chicago Tribune XXVII 





Oliver herford LXXVI 









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r 2G 

170 714S - C 55 -^ 

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PJease return promptly. 

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